Introduction: A Decluttered Home

Picture of A Decluttered Home

Have you ever spent an entire weekend tidying up your home, only to find yourself in the same mess a week later? Do you wish that you could just make your house stay organized? Fortunately, Marie Kondo, a professional organizing consultant from Japan, has developed a method called the Konmarie Method that not only helps you minimize and organize your belongings, but also teaches you how to maintain tidiness in your home. The purpose of this tutorial is to teach you the Konmarie Method so you can declutter your belongings and organize your home.

Step 1: Understanding the Konmarie Method

In her book “The Life-Changing Miracle of Tidying Up” Marie Kondo shares 2 important principles to follow while decluttering:

  • Tidy up by category rather than location
  • Only keep items that “spark joy”

Tidying up by category rather than location is important, because it will help you understand how to reorganize your belongings more thoroughly. You will want to declutter in this specific order of categories:

  • Clothes
  • Books
  • Papers
  • Miscellaneous
  • Sentimental items

Follow this specific order to train yourself to let go of things that do not “spark joy,” since it’s easier to get rid of clothing and books than sentimental items, which might otherwise overwhelm you. After getting rid of a pair of jeans that don’t fit anymore, you will be better prepared to let go of a birthday card from your second grade teacher.

Step 2: How to Determine If an Item “sparks Joy?”

Picture of How to Determine If an Item “sparks Joy?”

Marie Kondo believes that the only things worth keeping are those that “spark joy” in us. However, this feeling can be hard to identify at first. Follow these steps to teach yourself how to recognize what “sparks joy:”

  • Gather all items from a category
  • Place those items on your living room floor
  • Take each item in your hands
  • Ask your yourself if this item “sparks joy”
  • If the item “sparks joy,” keep it, if it doesn’t, discard it on a separate pile
  • If you have to think about it for more than 5 seconds, you can probably let it go
  • For each item that you decide to discard, acknowledge it by thanking it for its service and biding it farewell

However, some struggle to recognize if something “sparks joy” in them. If this is your case, take 3 minutes to pick out your 3 favorite items from the category you are working on. Then, compare your feelings toward these items with your feelings towards other items of the category.

Step 3: What to Do With Discarded Items?

Picture of What to Do With Discarded Items?

Create 3 separate piles for all your discaded items as follows:

  • A trash pile for items that cannot be repurposed
  • A donation pile for items that are usable
  • A sell pile for items that were a bigger investment

You may find that some items that don’t “spark joy” are still hard to get rid of, because they were expensive. In this case you may want to sell these items on websites like Amazon and Ebay or at second-hand stores.

Step 4: Before Decluttering

Picture of Before Decluttering

Before you begin, you will need the following items:

  • Comfortable clothes
  • 3 trash bags or cardboard boxes

Keep in mind, that tidying up your home requires time, and may feel overwhelming. To avoid feeling overwhelmed you should space out your decluttering process over 5 days. Preferably, you will take on a new category each day.

Marie Kondo suggests, that you avoid listening to music while you are culling your items, since the music might change your mood and influence your decisions.

Step 5: Start With Clothes

Picture of Start With Clothes
  • Remove all clothing from your hangers, drawers, boxes, etc.
  • Place all items in a pile in your living room
  • Take each item in your hand and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?”
  • If the item “sparks joy”, keep it
  • If the item doesn’t “spark joy”, thank it for its service and bid it farewell, then discard it into the proper pile

Piling everything together might seem hideous at first, but will help you have a good overview of what you own that you might have forgotten about.

Make sure you include the following items in the clothing category:

  • Tops (shirts, sweaters, tanks, etc.)
  • Bottoms (pants, shorts, skirts, etc.)
  • Dresses and suits (other one piece clothing)
  • Coats and jackets
  • Clothing for specific events (swimsuits, uniforms, etc.)
  • Accessories (bags and backpacks, scarves, hats, belts, etc.)
  • Shoes

Step 6: How to Fold Your Clothes the Konmarie Way

Picture of How to Fold Your Clothes the Konmarie Way

In order to maximize space and visibility, Marie Kondo came up with a way to fold all your clothes.

Here is an example using a t-shirt:

  • Place the shirt on a flat surface with the backside on top
  • Imagine a vertical line running down the middle of the shirt
  • Fold one side to the middle of the shirt and fold the sleeves down the length of the shirt, so that they don’t stick out
  • Repeat with the other side
  • Take the top of the shirt and fold it a quarter of the way down
  • Repeat this until the shirt is an even rectangle

If you folded the shirt correctly, it should be able to stand up vertically on its own.

Step 7: How to Store Away the Clothing You Keep

Picture of How to Store Away the Clothing You Keep

Now that you are finished discarding and folding your items in their appropriate pile, it’s time to put everything back into their proper places. It is important that you organize your clothing in such a way, that you can see everything you own:

  • Hang clothing that cannot be folded with the longer heavier pieces, such as coats and dresses, on the left and the short lighter pieces, such as shirts and skirts, on the right — creating a “rising closet”
  • Stack your folded clothing vertically so that each piece is visible.

Step 8: Books

Picture of Books
  • Remove all books from your shelves, desks, baskets, etc.
  • Place all items in a pile in your living room
  • Take each item in your hand and ask yourself “Does this spark joy?”
  • If the item “sparks joy”, keep it
  • If the item doesn’t “spark joy”, thank it for its service and bid it farewell, then discard it into the proper pile

This process, taken from Steps 2 and 3, will be applied to all other categories.

Items in the book category include:

  • General (books you enjoy reading)
  • Practical (references, cookbooks, etc.)
  • Visual (photograph collections)
  • Magazines

After you have sorted through your books, store them vertically back in their proper places, where you can view and access them easily.

Step 9: Papers

Picture of Papers

Repeat the process taken from Steps 2 and 3.

Obviously, not all of your important paper work will “spark joy;” make sure you only keep what is important and necessary.

Items in the paper category include:

  • Bills
  • Mail
  • Important documents
  • Coupons
  • Any loose paper

After you have sorted through your papers, store them categorized back in their proper places, where you can view and access them easily.

Step 10: Miscellaneous

Picture of Miscellaneous

Repeat the process taken from Steps 2 and 3.

Remember to only keep items that “spark joy,” such as your favorite lipstick or fishing pole, or that are necessary, such as your tool kit if you need to do your own minor repairs. If you have duplicates of the same item, discard what is unnecessary. For example, if you have 4 bottles of shampoo, you probably only need one.

Items in the miscellaneous category include:

  • CD’s
  • DVDs
  • Skin Care products
  • Makeup Accessories
  • Electrical equipment and appliances (digital cameras, consoles, etc.)
  • Household equipment (stationary, sewing kits, etc.)
  • Household Supplies (medicine, detergents, tissues, etc.)
  • Kitchen good and food supplies (spatulas, pots, blenders, spices, cans, etc.)
  • Valuables (passports, credit cards, etc.)
  • Hobby related items (skiing, fishing, painting)

After you have sorted through your miscellaneous items, store them vertically back in their proper places, where you can view and access them easily.

Step 11: Sentimental Items

Picture of Sentimental Items

Repeat the process taken from Steps 2 and 3.

Momentos can be difficult to let go of, so as you go through them, think about what “sparks joy” the most, and realize that the Konmarie Method is not about getting rid of things, but rather choosing to keep the things that truly make you happy. Consider digitizing items like photographs that are nice to look at but do not need to take up space.

Items in the sentimental category include:

  • Photos
  • Children’s art
  • Cards
  • Any memorabilia from special events or vacations
  • Gifts

After you have sorted through your sentimental items, store them categorized back in their proper places, where you can view and access them easily.

Now that you have successfully finished the Konmarie Method, apply the “spark joy” principle to future purchases and keepsakes. The Komarie Method will help you fill your life with things that truly “spark joy.”

Comments

lingg (author)2017-05-11

I try to avoid garage sales, thrift stores and scavenging in general. And I try to see all the baseboards in the room. Low pofile furniture makes small rooms look larger. Renters might consider folding furniture.

metaliste (author)2017-01-22

This seems like a good idea, i'll attempt to merge it with my "time last used" method (if i haven't touched something in 5 years, odds are i don't need it).
Also would be great to honor you items and take the time to sell or give them away instead of treating them like garbage or at least recycle as much as you can.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2017-01-21

I know my house could use some whole sale de-cluttering.

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Bio: Hi! I'm Larissa and originally from Germany but came to the US for college. I enjoy spending time with my husband and dog, vegan ... More »
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